10 Jun I Can Wait – Until You Catch Up
I can wait – until you catch up.
It’s been a couple of years since I started
Talking about, writing about, learning everything I could about, Personal Brand.
And how it benefits estate agents/realtors.
I wasn’t looking to fit in.
It wasn’t my intention to become another estate agency marketer – selling trinkets like Facebook advertising, social media management and content writing services to the real estate sector.
There were more than enough ‘experts’ flogging those ‘dead horses’.
Doing the industry a great disservice, as they sought to make estate agency even more hands-off, more automated and more reliant on software.
My aim was to stand out.
Not in the marketing services category, but by creating a whole new category.
That of Personal Brand.
Would it work? Was there a need? Would it be understood?
There was no market, at that time, for Personal Brand.
So my aim was to create one.
To move the thinking on estate agency/realtor marketing away from selling features and benefits, and agents hustling for their worthiness, to a new way of thinking.
A way of thinking that invited agents, not to be better, but to be different.
A whole industry was lined up against that idea.
Agency bosses, agency trainers were immersed in competition. Such an easy sell for both.
But, as Peter Thiel says, competition is for losers. The alternative, he suggests, is in looking to build a monopoly.
I can wait.
Evian didn’t want to fit into the existing water market. They didn’t offer another product that people could get for free, out of a tap. They wanted to create ‘designer water’. A lifestyle choice, not a necessity.
Elon Musk didn’t want to create a better car. He wanted to develop electric cars. And the more that BMW, Jaguar and Toyota copied his idea, the better for him. They simply cemented his aim.
There’s a saying about product/service launch.
“If the dogs eat the food, you’ve got a winner.”
If they don’t “eat the food”, you are supposed to go back and work on your service. Refine it.
That’s not how I work.
For one simple reason.
Customers, in this case estate agents/realtors, don’t know what they need. Other than more ‘leads’.
They’re hidebound to leaflet drops, to door-knocking, to press ads, to the social media merry-go-round that gets faster and faster without ever going anywhere. They would ask for something better. Something that would generate those hot ‘leads’.
So I don’t listen. If you don’t like the idea, thank you anyway for taking the time to consider.
I never expected more than 5% of agents would appreciate what it was I was attempting to introduce.
Of those 5%, less than half would have the courage to implement the strategy of creating their personal brand.
And of those that did, probably half get it wrong. Confusing personal brand with reputation.
Confusing personal brand with the need to be an attention-seeking agent.
So around 1% of UK agents are willing to do something that 100% of any agency’s customers would like to see.
Their customers would like to see more transparency.
It’s fine telling the world that you’re an ‘honest’ agent, that you’re passionate and of course, trustworthy.
But why should any homeowner believe what you say?
When every other agent tells them the same story.
Transparency is tough.
We all hide our insecurities behind a mask to show ourselves in the best possible light.
But that’s not transparent. Its not authentic. Truth be told, it’s insincere.
So very few agents do transparent. Preferring to hide behind the ‘corporate brand.’
I would like that to change. Fortunately, I can wait.
Vendors/landlords would like that to change. Unfortunately, they are in rather a hurry.
Instead, they choose without deciding. They often base their decision on perceived competence. Rather than character. And wonder why they have to choose again some months later, when the first agent doesn’t live up to expectations.
Being the best estate agency won’t help vendors to more trust your agency.
Because vendors that don’t know they have a problem are very good at ignoring advice from the ‘best’.
That’s why character matters.
Vendors won’t have a problem rejecting any agency they don’t like.
So I guess that explains why agents are so loathe to be transparent – vendors might not like them. Whereas if they build up their status, promising and boasting of their competence, there’s a distinct chance that some vendors might fall for the hype.
Therein, lies the opportunity for some other agents. To be different.
Instead of capturing the existing demand for estate agency/realtor services and competing with every other agency, why not create a new category? One that demonstrates who you are and what you most value.
Then you stand out. Then you give vendors/landlords the very thing they seek. The ability to decide whether they like you. Or not!
I look back a couple of years and I’ve gone deeper still with this personal brand thing.
I’ve learnt so much from the likes of Brené Brown, Nicolas Cole, Cole Schaeffer, Seth Godin and others.
I’m absolutely convinced it’s for the benefit of the industry. Even though 99% of agents will have to be dragged, kicking and screaming before they adopt personal brand.
The advent of the self-employed agent model has brought fresh impetus to personal brand. More freedom to be who they choose to be. Freedom to say what they choose to say. Time will tell. I can wait.
I’ve turned away plenty of business because we weren’t a good fit. A waste of my time if, when push came to shove, the agent that wanted to be different, couldn’t give up the idea of being better.
A waste of my time if all they wanted from personal brand was more attention. Or, a better reputation.
But, I do it for the joy of the thing. And, since I do it for the joy, I can do it forever.
I can wait – until you catch up.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
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There’s also a series of six short emails on why estate agents/realtors need a personal brand. Here’s the link:
Happy to hear from you if your have questions, or comments.